Covid-19 is changing the way we live so will it also change the criminal landscape?

We all like to imagine that the current crisis will bring out the best in society and in the vast majority of people it will but unfortunately as we are having to look at the way we live and work the criminal minority is being forced to do the same and in some cases it may actually be seen as an opportunity.

There is certainly an argument that some crime will diminish as free movement during the crisis becomes harder and opportunities for petty theft become fewer, however, at Compound Security, we are concerned that some theft activities will move from say shop lifting and home burglary to locations that are less well protected. This could potentially be construction sites, void properties, and rural sites such as farms and plant storage.

We have been protecting the construction sites for many years, but an incident last night gave rise to some concern. A Civils compound was penetrated and an attempt was made on the digger. When the alarm went off, the perpetrators ran, however, they also attacked the school next door and HD images showed that one intruder had a knife and blood was subsequently found on the digger.

We have concerns that this may be more than just a one off incident and are advising all our alarm response partners to take every precaution when responding to alarm events. Their safety is paramount.

For our clients, we want to help you make your site as unattractive as possible to would-be intruders, so here are some points to consider each day to maximise your security.

Check all perimeter fences. If the entire site is not fenced off or bounded by natural barriers, take action to rectify this immediately.

If your site has evolved significantly since the cameras / alarm system was installed, it is possible that the wrong parts of your site are being protected now. Walk around your site and consider where your cameras are looking. If you feel there are key areas where there is no cover call your provider and get them moved to correct locations.

Ensure cameras are not obscured by building materials that will shield an intruder.

Remove any loose rubbish, paper, plastic sheeting, plastic wrapping etc. that can blow around in the wind. These can cause large volumes of false activations during daylight hours and that clogs up the control rooms monitoring many of the alarm systems, meaning real alarm activations take longer to be acted on, giving thieves more time. Plus, have a thought for the operators who have to watch thousands of these videos every day.

Ensure whenever possible that plant and machinery is parked in range of a camera. In most cases within 20 meters. If one machine is more vulnerable than others, make it the hardest one to get to.

Ensure fuel bowsers are covered by a camera. This is the BIGGEST target on your site!

Park heavy plant in front of the doors of cabins containing valuable items.

Make contact with your neighbours and ask them to keep an eye on the site and report anything suspicious to someone. You could provide them the contact details of whichever provider responds to your alarm and offer a small reward such as gift certificate etc.

Put the window guards on heavy plant every night.

Contact the local police. I most cases they have no idea where building sites are and if you tell them, they will do their best to check on them regularly.

If your site alarm system is armed at night automatically at a set time, do not leave the site 2 hours early as it will not be protected. Change the automatic arm time or use a keypad.

If you normally respond to intruder alerts yourself or your staff attend, it may be time to consider contracting an SIA certified keyholding service provider to respond for you, especially with the prospect of free movement being curtailed in the months ahead. Such providers can be found by typing in ‘keyholding services’ and the name of your town in to Google. On average, charges are £1 per day for holding your keys and then a charge if they are called to respond to a confirmed alarm.

Above all stay vigilant in these unprecedented times and most importantly look out for your own safety and the safety of others.